Wherever you turn in the UK, there is Jade Goody: television, online, newspapers, radio chat shows. Her media presence these last couple weeks has led me to think of her as a quasi-omnipresent being, like some sort of ancient Sumerian demi-goddess.

‘Who is Jade Goody?’, you ask. She rose to stardom as the girl people loved to hate on UK Big Brother (I still do not understand what people here like about this show, but it goes to show that Britain isn’t all tea and crumpets!)

As one blogger described her: Only a few months ago this appalling creation of reality television seemed to represent all that was wrong with modern society. She was a superficial and crass product of legendary Essex; variously referred to as being a ‘pig-faced’, ‘loud-mouthed’, ‘ignorant’, ‘selfish’, ‘racist’ and ‘self-promoting’ chav. Her life was just that of another quasi-celebrity – a two-dimensional virtual existence with no higher purpose other than to copulate and consume; to wallow in Armani excess whilst patiently awaiting an invitation to stumble onto ‘Dancing on Ice’. She was a commodity of Max Clifford who owned her, the chat shows which fed off her, the ‘celebrity’ culture which scoffed at her, and the ‘red-tops’ which would one day destroy her. The inexorable course of her petty and pointless existence was set.

Ahem. How did Jade get to this point? Her biography, what I’ve read of it, is the rambling and prurient tale of an Essex girl who continued to live out a life that seems to still have its stiletto-heeled boots stuck in the mud of a very unpleasant childhood, ‘My dad was a heroin addict and never gave me anything except a couple of things that he nicked. He told my mum his name was Cyrus, so she went and had his name tattooed on her arm and then she found out he was called Antony, after all.

I used to roll joints for my mum when I was four years old because I’ve always wanted to be helpful, and my mum gave me a huge kiss after I managed to hide all the stolen chequebooks in the freezer when the police raided us. I’ve always loved my mum, even when people gave her a hard time for being a one-armed lesbian.’

But Jade is falling as quickly as she ascended thanks to a terminal illness: cervical cancer. While the parties and the in-your-face lifestyle are now a thing of the past, it appears that Jade is making other news…good news. Apparently, she’s been looking to God in the midst of her darkness.

“I’ve always thought there’s a God although I’ve never been a churchy kind of person but now I think, ‘Why not go to church?’

“I’ve got a version of the Bible which is easy to read and I look through it when I’m feeling down. It really helps.”

“And I’ve always prayed but now I do find it helps. Maybe the big man upstairs thinks, ‘She’s a tough cookie, she can handle this. She’s watched her dad inject heroin, watched her mum do crack, she’s lost a baby, had boyfriends who’ve hit her. Yeah, she can handle this too.’

“But I do think after this is over, God might think I’ve had more than my fair share to deal with.”

Jade illustrates the fact that it is incredibly tempting to rush to judgment, to dislike the unlikable parts of people, to sew the red letter upon their lapel and use it as a justification for writing them off. However, despite the fact that Jade’s life has been…um, colorful, I am struck by how easy it is to judge people for their past, to consider them irredeemable recipients of justly-deserved consequences.

I pray that Jade has or will soon heard the life-changing message that 2000 years ago Jesus Christ atoned for the sins of the world, that we become new creations in Him, and that the Gospel is Good News simply because it takes who we really were/are and nails it to a cross.